Earlier this month, an Alabama federal jury returned a verdict of $5.795 million (mostly in punitive damages) against Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama for harassment, negligence, and retaliation. The jury also awarded $10,000 in punitive damages against Swindle(!), the middle manager the jury found had engaged in harassment. According to plaintiff’s cocounsel, the jurors returned a verdict of twice the amount plaintiff Edwards had sought. “They were upset at the negligence,” cocounsel stated in an admirable example of understatement.
According to court records, the mid-level manager harassed Edwards for five months, beginning shortly after she started working at Hyundai. He repeatedly made lewd comments and gestures to her and at least once pressed his body against hers while propositioning her.
According to plaintiff’s cocounsel, Edwards mentioned the conduct to another mid-level manager, who told her she “should get used to it.” When she went to upper management, they transferred her to a job she was physically unable to perform and then was forced to take medical leave.
Unsurprisingly, according to plaintiff’s cocounsel, there were no anti-harassment policies in place, and Swindle had never received harassment prevention training.
So much for “America’s best warranty.”
Source: Birmingham News article